Israeli diplomatic sources disclosed to Al-Monitor that during a meeting in Paris between Israeli and French foreign ministers in mid-February, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman thanked his French colleague, not for the first time, for France’s action in Mali and the Central African Republic. Were it not for the involvement of the French military, he said, radical Islam would have already reached “Israel’s doorstep.”
Once this meeting at the French Foreign Ministry was concluded, the two ministers came out to greet the photographers. They didn’t hold a real news conference, and only granted statements to the media. Liberman usually spares his words when making public appearances of this sort outside of Israel. This time, however, beyond the banal declarations regarding the good relations between the two countries, Liberman added that in his conversation with his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, he raised the topic of cooperation between Jerusalem and Paris on Africa. Liberman's declaration adds to a previous statement he made in January at the annual conference of Israeli heads of mission in Jerusalem regarding the importance of Africa to Israel’s foreign relations.